Linguistic Survey of India - Rajasthan (Part I)


The Linguistic Survey of India (LSI) is an ongoing project of the Government of India that aims to document and study how languages have changed in the country over the years. It considers shifts in society, administrative regions and the reorganisation of states based on linguistic identity. This project has been undertaken by the Language Division, Office of the Registrar General, Government of India. 

Part of this project is the Linguistic Survey of India – Rajasthan (Part I) which studies seven languages spoken in Rajasthan. The survey was carried out between 1998 and 2001. 

The survey works on the census framework according to which ‘language’ and ‘mother tongue’ are ‘co-terminus’ or mean the same. The volume presents sketches of seven languages: Marwari, Brajbhasha, Malvi, Mewati, Bundeli or Bundelkhandi, Jaipuri (Dhundhari) – all mother tongues listed under the Hindi group of languages – and Wagdi (mother tongue listed under the Bhili/Bhilodi group). 

The present-day LSI is an extension of the survey first proposed by George Abraham Grierson, an Irish linguist who documented Indian languages during the pre-Independence era. This project ‘supplements and complements’ Grierson’s work. 

The document is divided into nine chapters: Introduction (Chapter 1); Marwari (Chapter 2); Brajbhasha (Chapter 3); Malvi (Chapter 4); Mewati (Chapter 5); Bundeli/Bundelkhandi (Chapter 6); Jaipuri (Chapter 7) and Wagdi (Chapter 8). The ninth chapter presents a comparative lexicon of 500 lexical items in all the languages.


  1. According to the 2001 Census, there are 79 languages and 138 mother tongues in Rajasthan. The most spoken languages in the state are Hindi (spoken by 51,407,216 people) and Bhili/Bhilodi (spoken by 2,600,933) people.

  2. Marwari is primarily spoken by the Marwari community in Rajasthan, Gujarat and some areas of Pakistan. There are 7,936,183 speakers of Marwari in India (Census, 2001) of which 62,79,105 reside in various districts of Rajasthan including Jodhpur, Bikaner, Barmer, Nagaur and Pali. The language is taught from primary to post-graduate level and has a rich literature.

  3. Brajbhasha is spoken widely in parts of Alwar, Sawai Madhopur and Dosa in Rajasthan. The 2001 Census numbers its speakers at 574,245 across the country and 404,493 in Rajasthan. The language is not used as a medium of instruction in the state. A kind of literary tradition in Brajbhasha is called Pingal literature.

  4. In 2001, there were 5,565,167 speakers of Malvi all over India and 385,393 speakers in Rajasthan. The language is spoken most in the Chittaurgarh, Jhalawar and Kota districts. The survey found that the speech of children in the Malvi community is often mixed with Hindi. Use of this language was also noted more among women than among women.

  5. There were 645,291 speakers of Mewati in India and 289,731 of them are located in Rajasthan, mostly in the districts of Bharatpur and Alwar districts. The Devanagari script is used for Mewati however very few books are available in this language. The language is not used either as a medium of instruction in schools not in mass media.

  6. The survey says that Mewati was once the language of a large region but is now used mostly by Muslims, specifically the Rajputs and Meenas who converted to Islam. The language does not have a unique script and also lacks a written tradition.

  7. Bundeli or Bundelkhandi is spoken in various parts of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. Total speakers of this language in India number 3,072,147 but the speakers in Rajasthan number around 1,623. The Bundeli speaking population is mostly located between the rivers Yamuna, Chambal and Narmada.

  8. Grierson and other scholars coined the term Jaipuri but people from Rajasthan also term this language Dhundari. The 2001 Census reported that 81,514 people in India spoke this language of which 81,214 were in Rajasthan. Jaipuri/Dhundari is not taught in schools and is not used for broadcasts or telecasts, the survey notes.

  9. Of the 2,600,933 people in Rajasthan belonging to the Bhil community, 25,00,574 are speakers of Wagdi. Speakers of Wagdi also reside in Gujarat and Maharashtra. A majority of Wagdi speakers are bilingual and speak Hindi, Gujarati and Marathi as the second language depending on where they live.

  10. Bhili or Bhilodi, under which Wagdi is listed, is taught in schools until Class 4 under the government’s tribal welfare and development programmes. It uses the Devanagari script. The survey notes that certain state-run broadcast programmes use this language.

    Focus and Factoids by Muhammad Yusuf Ghazali.


Language Division, Office of the Registrar General, Government of India


Language Division, Office of the Registrar General, Government of India


01 Jul, 2011